There are gaps in my thinking. And everything else.
This month is both free and not free.
We cleared the hill of last year's growth. Just to be here, outside in the warmer than usual days. I saved the remaining sumac berries which have dried on the branches of small trees we have removed to get rid of brush that holds dampness and encourages mosquitoes. It will rain for days now so I left the copper bucket outside while we are away and around. I've plans to remove all dyestuff stored in the freezer here as well. Perhaps a little spring dyeing to use it up.
And I drew this. And I will draw it 8 more times. Repeat the thought. 9. A good number. Now, more often back on paper, I have begun to grasp the effect of being with cloth for so long. As I did in reverse when I moved from paper to cloth so long ago. The materials reshape us, like any relationship. I have found myself mending. Patching holes in old paper with bits of paper. Patching over lines not wanted with bits of paper instead of erasing. This also allows me to use bits of paper too small to draw on. Design mending. Mostly though, I am thinking about paper like I think about cloth. This will help a new style emerge. This is exciting and feels freer than just trying to go back to something. Repeat it.
I have decided to move Feel Free to another site, to make it better. It takes a lot of planning to get it right. In April I will resume my efforts with all of that. Right now I am just going. I appreciate all the new support and your patience as I navigate March, which finds me so in between.
In some way I am always looking through patchwork. So this is good. That patchwork might be a window to something else.
The center could be anything really. I am playing around with some eco dyed samples from way back. Using them. Finally. I am not dyeing this year except for indigo that I might need to complete some big cloth. I don't need to dye much anymore. I have stacks of old experiments to share with you eventually, the cloths and the process. As I use them. Make blankets.
I like the contrast between the organic and the grid. I like the square ring. The background cloth is cotton linen and has dragonflies woven right into it. The center cloth is silk. This will be a big cloth. With a lot of space. For radiating outward. In a less kind of way.
The pot has not come to a boil yet. The weather has been too warm for a Big Fire.
But this is the color I like. after 2 hours it was pale yellow. Over night it deepened. The copper kettle also changes the color and after a few days it turns a bit greenish. I will build a Big Fire tonight when it turns cold. Heating the pot everyday defeats the mold.
I keep adding Pom skins to the bag. The man eats 2 a day. After a few days I will remove the bag. Make some room in that pot. Dye some patchwork. Got some more ideas about that. Ha!
So here we are. We got leaves of many colors. And warmth. Many young squirrels.
And then continued troubles with Typepad. A lot of back and forth as they kindly spend time trying to find out why. And I patiently do the same. If I need to move, I will simply start over somewhere else. That would be a trip after all this time.
This is Nick. Young Nick. He is very frisky. And very friendly. The peanuts are probably encouraging that.
Meanwhile, September's dyepo(e)t got away from me. And the thoughts that were forming set aside.
But now they are back. And they are really some continuing things from when I was considering color a while back. I think I will say a few things about that...
There were so many on the ground here, well not to waste, I gathered a few over the weekend. 22 to be exact.
Dyeing with black walnuts is not a complicated science. Walnuts stain everything they come in contact with once you break the skin. I remember pictures of women with black fingers, sitting in a circle, peeling the husks off walnuts. I think it was National Geographic. Any way I first used them for dye in Girl Scouts. 1965?
There are many methods, (just look up walnut dyeing) hot or cold. But basically they need to be covered in water which will eventually break the skin down and turn the water brown. I like to break the skin a bit but some folks leave them whole. And this time I put them in a cloth bag stitched up from some old linen cloth. So I can lift them out of the pot after the color has been extracted. This way I am left with only liquid. And I can use the cloth from the bag later. I also include some pomegranate skins in the bag because I usually have them this time of year and I like that yellow ochre color. A more earthy clay type yellow brown. It's a nice base for other dyeing as well.
Sometimes I let the brew ferment over the winter outside. This time I just heated them on the wood stove for a few days. Because it was cranked up.
This morning I am dyeing thread. That is a weaving shuttle. Because I have them around.
I like to dye thread wound flat like this to keep it from tangling. I don't wind too much so the dyed penetrates. The small 9" shuttle gives me a nice 14-15" length thread after cutting one end. I'll dye some wool. And some silk. Just a little wool and silk I will use for weaving this winter. I have a lot pomegranate peels soaking in water in jars in the fridge. I should use that too. Need some room for food.